Putting Us All at Risk for Measles
The New York Times
By Pauline W. Chen, M.D.
June 26, 2014
One of my 11-year-old twin daughters recently came home from school distraught. When I asked why, she lifted her foot.
There was dog poop on her sneakers.
She watched as I flicked away the doggy detritus with a twig, then scrubbed the sole of her shoe with an old brush and hot water. “We don’t like to pick up Buddy’s poop, either,” I could hear her telling her sister, “but we do it because it’s gross to leave it on the sidewalk.”
When I handed her the shoe, cleaned and as good as new, she beamed. “Thanks, Mom,” she said, lacing up. But after a few test twirls in the yard, she stopped.
“Didn’t that dog’s owner know he would cause so much trouble for other people?” she asked, brow furrowing. “He might have even caused trouble for himself if he came back and stepped in it!”
At the tender age of 11, she had seen how one person’s bad decision could negatively affect others.
The same lesson is playing out for patients and doctors across the country, albeit under far graver circumstances.
This year, there has been a major resurgence of measles, a dangerous disease that for decades had been virtually unknown in the United States. And it’s become clear that measles has re-emerged as a public health issue in this country because large numbers of individuals remain unvaccinated.
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